from the utterly-unsustainable dept
In short, consumers are repeatedly punished with blackouts and petty PR bitching between companies incapable of responsibly signing new contracts, after which they get a lovely new price hike. It's no wonder that 2016 was a record year for cord cutting.
Utterly oblivious to the self-immolation that comes from pissing off an already historically unsatisfied customer base, cable providers and broadcasters are already doubling down on this dysfunction in 2017. In just the last few weeks, countless pay TV customers have lost access to content they're paying for, whether it's Bonneville International blocking Dish customer access to a local NBC affiliate in large parts of Idaho, DirecTV users temporarily losing access to 33 Hearst Stations, or Frontier customers losing access to Sinclair Broadcasting stations after the broadcaster demanded a 200% price hike.
The American Television Alliance, a coalition of mostly cable companies, was quick to point out that 2017 is on record to see more of these types of feuds than ever before, as broadcasters continue to push for rate hikes that neither consumers nor cable companies are willing to pay for. It's an utterly unsustainable business model to be sure, though the Alliance is quick to lay the lion's share of the blame, quite correctly, at the feet of broadcasters:
"Broadcasters ambushed innocent consumers on New Year’s Day with a tidal wave of television blackouts," said American Television Alliance national spokesman Trent Duffy. "Broadcast tycoons have brazenly and deliberately hijacked pay TV viewers once again, holding college football bowl games, the last weekend of the NFL’s regular season and network premiers for ransom in a naked ploy to extract more money from consumers."Of course, cable providers aren't innocent little daisies either. While they may be a prisoner to broadcaster rates, they often impose rate hikes on service at every conceivable opportunity as well, whether it's higher fees to rent a cable box or digital signal converter, fees to pay your bill in person or via the phone, hidden obnoxious fees used to falsely advertise a lower price, or broadband usage caps and overage fees designed to seek out their pound of flesh from another area of the consumer wallet.
Again, this simply isn't sustainable. If the cable industry wants to seriously fight back against cord cutting and slimmer streaming alternatives, it needs to begin more seriously competing on channel bundle flexibility and price, something the sector as a whole appears to be incapable of realizing. As such, cord cutting and cord trimming (streamlining your cable package) are self-inflicted wounds from an industry so terrified of killing its precious legacy TV cash cow, it's actually accelerating the demise of its traditional customer base by doubling down on pissing them off.